Making Sense of Stories: Narratives of Women Seeking Asylum

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


In this paper, I will draw on an ESRC funded research study, exploring the stories of women seeking asylum in the UK. Taking a narrative approach and drawing on feminist perspectives, I will attempt to ground academic activity in some of the practical struggles of women’s lives and resist the essentialising, generalising or universalising of asylum seeker narratives. Locating women’s stories and placing the tellers of asylum stories at the heart of the research, this paper will look at how women seeking asylum construct accounts, drawing on broader narratives to construct their own story. Whilst some women’s stories reflected and appropriated dominant narratives circulating in the UK, women also engaged with narratives of resistance which provided frameworks in which to talk about activism, organised resistance and building resistance. Drawing on more nuanced understandings of resistance, women’s accounts also orientated towards indirect resistances, reflecting negotiations, transgressions and the ways in which they re-worked their lives. Appropriating subtle versions of resistance, women also spoke about resilience through stories of survival, endurance and the ways in which they ‘got by’ in their lives. Inspired by the stories of the women in this study and drawing on nuanced concepts of ‘resistance’, this chapter offers a narrative framework of resistance for better understanding the stories of women seeking asylum.
Period19 Jun 2014
Event titleTroubling Narratives: Identity Matters
Event typeConference
LocationHuddersfield , United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational